HKN Energy, cultivating close connections in Kurdistan

HKN Energy feels right at home in Kurdistan.

Led by CEO Mr. Trem Smith and general manager Mr. Mark Jackson, HKN set up operations in 2007 and continues to see huge growth opportunities in the region’s energy sector.

A key advantage for HKN is its team’s longevity. As Mr. Smith attests, the same core team has been in place ‘‘from the very beginning; this has allowed us to build close relationships with the numerous key industry people, as well as the local communities where we do business.’’ There’s an intangible cultural understanding that goes with this that can’t be simply measured in dollars. From a time when, according to Mr. Smith, ‘‘there were only four or five seismic companies,’’ we have been witness to the incredible progress that has been made – not only with the significant increase in the availability of oil and gas services but also the vast improvement in infrastructure in general. To see the new ‘‘roads, residential areas, and hotels being built’’ amid a rapidly evolving business environment is very exciting. Naturally, the company feels it has been, and is still, an integral part of the region’s journey.

As such, the management is proud of its cooperation with the minister of natural resources, Dr. Ashti Hawrami, in whom it knows it can confide whenever necessary, bringing a peace of mind that can’t be understated in industry relations.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Jackson realize that growth opportunities abound in a fast-growing economy. As a result, HKN knows it has the ability to look for business opportunities both inside the energy industry and in other areas such as real estate and agriculture. HKN wants to play its part in diversifying the region’s industry.

Acutely aware that the oil belongs to Iraq and its people, Prime Minister H.E. Nechirvan Barzani and his team remind everyone of this regularly. HKN´s activities are driven by this concept at all times. Like all foreign companies, HKN is a mere visitor to this hospitable region. Having been so well received, HKN wants to see Kurdistan propelled to its rightful position as a booming economy.

Indeed, far from the typical caricature of Texan tycoons, Mr. Smith and Mr. Jackson have instilled a high level of corporate social responsibility in the company. And actions speak louder than words: HKN only recently built a world-class school in the region. All of this won’t elevate the region to first world levels overnight, but the search for oil and gas, for new business opportunities and social responsibility projects, show that HKN is serious about giving back. And why wouldn’t it be? In the words of Smith: “Kurdistan and its people are just getting started, and HKN is in it for the long haul”.

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